To maintain open lines of communication at a time when acceptance by friends and peers is becoming important, and to strengthen your child’s healthy coping strategies. Other goals include: explaining the difference between prescription and over-the-counter drugs, why some medicines are misused, and how drugs change the way you act, think, and feel. Now is the time to warn of the special dangers around prescription painkillers, and to express your disapproval of any drug and alcohol use, while setting and reinforcing consequences.


Tell me about your friends and their families. What are they like?

Have you heard of people misusing medicine? Why do they misuse it? What happened to them?

How would you handle it if your friends wanted you to experiment with alcohol or drugs?

In [that movie/show we watched], what consequences did the person who used drugs/drank experience because of their decision? If you were that person’s friend, what advice would you give them?



Collaboratively develop expectations and consistently reinforce them. It’s important to communicate the consequences if he/she were to break one of your rules, and it’s also important that these consequences are realistic.

Make your questions open-ended (e.g., What did you think of that movie? What do you usually do with your friends when you hang out?). These types of questions can help spark conversations, and can help you better engage with your teen.

Encourage teens to take healthy risks (e.g., meeting new people, joining a new club).

Listen to what your teens are saying with an open mind.

Develop a “code word/phrase” for your child to use if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Talk with your teen, not at them.

Talk with them about the direct connection between opioids and heroin.